Brian and Charles Review: Sweet-natured robot buddy comedy - SciFiNow

Brian and Charles Review: Sweet-natured robot buddy comedy

A lonely inventor creates a robot best friend out of curbside junk in Brian And Charles. Here’s our review…


Isolation and the longing for companionship are explored in this sweet-natured buddy comedy about a lonely inventor who literally makes a robot friend named Charles Petrescu (Chris Hayward) out of curbside junk. Brian (David Earl) who lives in the remote Welsh countryside and is suffering from depression, fashions an imperfect but ultimately perfect friend out of a washing machine and a discarded mannequin head.

It’s based on a 2017 short film directed by Jim Archer, who once again teams up with writing duo and actors Earl and Hayward. The mockumentary-style feature film follows Brian and Charles’ flourishing, often adorable and funny parent-child type relationship from curious toddler, to stroppy teen and beyond. Brian speaks directly to camera about his life making things that have no purpose (acorn bags and egg belts) but bring him joy and occasionally states the obvious on life’s deeper meaning.

The oddball pair are pitted against bullies – a local farmer and his family who are in charge of the yearly bonfire – and their bond is tested. There’s also a romance between Brian and local lass Hazel (an endearing Louise Brealey). The film struggles to be as insightful or charming as Daisy May and Charlie Cooper’s BBC TV show This Country, which also covered similar themes, but it has its hilarious moments. There’s great physical comedy in a dance sequence featuring The Communards and fun wordplay and pronunciation jokes that make the awkwardly built Charles a delight to watch in action.

The dynamic between the two main characters is heart-warming to watch, with the visual jokes in the montages a hoot (a pillow fight in particular) but the central idea, that’s pushed along with a Frankenstein-type narrative, is a tad stretched out in the slight yet undeniably amusing screenplay. Saying all that, Brian And Charles will certainly be a warm hug of a movie to those who love a bit of quirk in their comedy.

Brian And Charles will be in cinemas on 8 July